NJ asked if it wants to legalize sports betting

October 31, 2011 • Business

In this Oct. 21, 2011 photo, Reed Totten, of Jackson, N.J., leads a winning horse to the Winners’ Circle at Freehold Raceway in Freehold N.J. Totten supports a non-binding referendum on the New Jersey ballot asking voters whether they support legalizing sports betting at the state’s casinos and racetracks. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — Sipping a beer and killing time in the 15 minutes between races at Freehold Raceway one recent afternoon, the guy in the Jets hat pondered the possibility that he might one day be able to put $100 down on his favorite football team at the same time he plunked down cash on the next sure thing at the track.

“There would be a lot more of us here, that’s for sure,” said Steve Kerrigan of Brick, who bears a passing resemblance to Jets coach Rex Ryan, and who wouldn’t mind a wager or two on Gang Green.

New Jersey voters will be asked on the Nov. 8 ballot whether they want to make sports betting legal. It will be the only public question on the ballot this fall, and if pre-election polls are any indication, it should pass.

But even if it does, a federal ban on sports betting in all but four states must be lifted before anyone in New Jersey can start making legal bets on the Jets, Giants or Eagles, or any other pro team, for that matter. The state missed a 1991 federal deadline to legalize sports betting, and was left out of the 1992 law that allowed it in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. Nevada is the only state taking legal bets on individual games.

Raymond Lesniak, a state senator, sued the federal government, aiming to Login to read more

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